Saturday 28 March 2020 is shaping up as being one of the most interesting and hard-fought elections seen in the Douglas Shire since de-amalgamation and could prove to be one of the most important for securing its future.
Although the outgoing Council has strong support from some sections of the community, many ratepayers in the shire have been vocal in their dissatisfaction with a perceived lack of transparency and consultation, and some contentious decisions made by Council.
In particular, the carbon trading scheme between Council, Green Collar, Qantas and TPDD that was initially sold to the ratepayers as a deal to end all deals, designed to provide a massive publicity boost for the Shire. The reality however was very different. Investigations undertaken by concerned residents revealed that Qantas had no intention of providing massive amounts of promotion in their inflight magazine or by allowing use of their logo. The decision by Council to push ahead with this project, despite the obvious dissatisfaction of many in the community demonstrates a total disregard for appropriate community engagement leaving many in the community outraged.
In addition to the need for more transparency and consultation, the other major focus points for this election will be unsustainable and inequitable rate increases, water security, sustainable growth, tourism and the continued push for power in the Daintree.
Already a large field of candidates have put their hands up to represent ratepayers for the next four years.
Local government general elections are held every four years, and on the same date for all 77 Councils across Queensland. The Queensland Government has been delivering a rolling reform agenda that apply to the system of local government and elections in Queensland.
New reforms implemented since the October 2017 elections strengthen the transparency, accountability and integrity measures that apply to the system of local government in Queensland. Changes that all candidates for the 2020 elections need to be ready for, including existing mayors and Councillors. We will be watching!
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